Exclusive Report: Merkel Government to Distance Itself from Armenian Genocide Vote to Appease Turkey

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning to dissociate itself from the German parliament’s vote to declare the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a “genocide” to improve relations with Turkey, magazine Der Spiegel reported Friday, citing unnamed sources. The German parliament’s resolution in June to label the massacre genocide further burdened relations with Turkey, a critical partner given the European deal with Turkey to limit the inflow of refugees from the Middle East to the European Union. Turkey rejects the idea that the killings of Christian Armenians, which took place during World War I, amounted to a genocide. In retaliation for parliament’s resolution, Turkey blocked German politicians from visiting German soldiers stationed at the Turkish air base Incirlik. At the base, German planes support a U.S.-led mission to fight Islamic State in Syria. By distancing itself from parliament’s resolution, the German government hopes its politicians can again visit the soldiers in Incirlik, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. Turkey’s government had demanded a public dissociation from the resolution in exchange for allowing politicians to visit the base. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert is expected to publicly declare that the resolution has no legally binding consequences for the cabinet and that it is solely a political statement from Germany’s Lower House, or Bundestag, Der Spiegel said. Chancellor Merkel’s office and the Foreign Ministry have agreed on the step, it said. The blockage to visit German soldiers in Incirlik had prompted the military to consider  withdrawing its mission from Turkey, Der Spiegel reported last week. Picture: Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Source: Michael Kappeler / DPA